Three Things to Purge from Your Kitchen
Reducing Consumption of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Whether you know it or not, you are constantly in contact with endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) — they are in the air you breathe, the food you eat, and even the water you drink. EDCs are everywhere, but reducing your exposure to them doesn’t have to be a monumental task. Simply take it one day, and one room, at a time. To get started, check out this list of just three things you can switch out in your kitchen to reduce the amount of EDCs you consume on a daily basis.
Why is Reducing Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Important?
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are virtually impossible to avoid; they are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and are found in the majority of products we come into contact with on a daily basis. When EDCs enter our system, they disrupt the proper functioning of our endocrine system. But what is the endocrine system and why is disrupting it so bad?
The endocrine system is comprised of the pancreas, testes, ovaries, pituitary, pineal, hypothalamus, thyroid, and adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for creating and regulating our bodies’ hormone levels. Hormones are vital in the body’s performance of growth and tissue formation, immune function, reproductive health, mood, metabolism, and much more! When EDCs enter our system, our body cannot tell the difference between these foreign chemicals and our bodies’ natural hormones; this means that all the vital processes our hormones regulate are unable to function properly. EDCs and the subsequent impairments they cause within the endocrine system have been linked to several adverse health effects, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, ADHD, and reproductive health issues — just to name a few. While eliminating contact with EDCs entirely is not feasible due to their widespread presence throughout our modern world, the myriad detrimental health effects make reducing your exposure to them a worthy undertaking.
Start Today — Three Changes to Make in your Kitchen
- It’s time to switch — trade in your plastic food containers for glass
Stop using plastic containers to store your food. Go into your kitchen right now, take out your plastic containers and recycle them in an environmentally conscious manner (or repurpose them by transforming them into plant holders, using them to hold your spare change etc.). Plastic is commonly produced using either phthalate or bisphenol A (BPA), both of which are endocrine disrupting chemicals. Storing food in plastic containers creates an opportunity for these chemicals to leach into your food. Consuming food that has been stored in these plastic containers allows the EDCs to enter your system. The rate of disintegration increases when the plastic container is put in direct sunlight or heated (i.e. putting them in the microwave), which allows even greater levels of EDCs to seep into your food. If kicking plastic to the curb seems daunting to you at first, just think about the fact that the next time you go to eat those delicious leftovers, you’ll also be helping yourself to a nice dose of EDCs… Yuck. Instead of plastic food containers, invest in glass — an easy, environmentally friendly, EDC free method of storing your food. Glass containers are also great because when you’re ready to reheat your leftovers, you can put them straight in the oven
- Keep EDCs in mind when you grocery shop
Try to purchase organic fruits and vegetables whenever you can. For the times that you can’t, always be sure to give your produce a good rinsing first. A lot of produce is coated in pesticides, which contain heavy levels of EDCs. High levels of EDCs may also be found depending on what type of fertilizer the produce was grown in, or if the produce was treated with preservatives. Washing your fruits and vegetables removes most, if not all, of the residual chemicals.
- Invest in new cookware
Non-stick cookware is made using PFOA, a compound of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) that is used to create teflon (the substance that makes your pan “non-stick”). While using non-stick cookware might make your nightly clean up a bit faster, stirring your food over a heated surface coated in teflon gives EDCs ample opportunity to seep into your food. If necessary, continue using your non-stick cookware — just do so with caution. Only use your non-stick cookware for short periods of time, at medium-low heat levels. Stir gently while cooking and, when you’re finished with your non-stick pot or pan, clean it gently, too, so as not to hasten the deterioration of its non-stick coating. You could also consider switching back to traditional cast-iron pots and pans. Cast-iron cookware may require a bit more upkeep, but it has a greater heat-resistance and can be conditioned with oil to become non-stick — without the use of EDCs.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals are everywhere, and are used in more things than you could even begin to imagine. Trying to completely eliminate the presence of EDCs your life is not a reasonable goal to set for yourself. At Table Health, we encourage to ‘Live Better,’ not ‘perfectly.’ Just start by making these three changes — stop using plastic containers, grocery shop mindfully, and consider getting rid of your non-stick cookware. These small, simple steps will actively reduce the level of endocrine disrupting chemicals you consume on a day-to-day basis, which will allow your body to function more efficiently and thereby improve your overall health.